I have taken a look, once again, at the ?current crop? of players at Everton Football Club. This will be my fourth of these assessments ? previous articles:
May 2008: http://www.toffeeweb.com/season/07-08/comment/fan/article.asp?submissionID=7473
September 2008: http://www.toffeeweb.com/season/08-09/comment/fan/article.asp?submissionID=9174
February 2009: http://www.toffeeweb.com/season/08-09/comment/fan/article.asp?submissionID=10909
Having now been a year since my original article (written at the end of last season) ? I will not only assess the current strengths and weaknesses of the squad as I see them, but also comment on the progress that has been made in strengthening the squad and resolving weaknesses that were identified at this time last season.
I have noted how long each player is contracted to, but the club does not seem to note this on player profiles and so have had to do my own research. Please feel free to correct any mistakes I may have made in this regard, and I am sure many of you will be on hand to correct my analysis of the squad?s strengths and weaknesses!
Howard (contracted until 2014 ? pending)
Nash (contracted until 2010)
Turner (contracted until 2011)
Ruddy (contracted until ?)
May 2008: I claimed that Howard was a good first-choice but that we probably needed a reserve ?keeper in addition to the inexperienced Turner and Ruddy. This has since been addressed though we have never actually required Nash to stand in.
June 2009: I expect Howard-Nash to remain first and second choice, though am beginning to wonder if Moyes thinks Turner/Ruddy will ever cut the mustard. Possibly expect one of them to leave (Turner, most likely) and another youngster signed in the hope that they may one day make the grade.
Hibbert (contracted until 2012)
Baines (contracted until 2012)
Lescott (contracted until 2012)
Jagielka (contracted until 2014)
Yobo (contracted until 2014)
Coleman (contracted until ?)
Irving (contracted until ?)
Mustafi (new signing - pending)
Jacobsen (contracted expiring)
Valente (contract expiring)
May 2008: I claimed Neville-Yobo-Lescott-Baines was probably first choice, and that we may need to improve at right-back.
June 2009: Neville is indeed first-choice, but as a midfielder not defender, and Yobo?s claim to a starting berth has been thrown into doubt by the sparkling form of Jagielka. In defence, we have 3 excellent centre-backs and an outstanding left-back, but the cup final has only served to demonstrate that Hibbert is not good enough as a first choice right-back for a club hoping to challenge the Sky 4. Jacobsen may have done enough in the latter stages of the season to justify a contract extension, though Valente?s excellent service at the club will surely end here. If Jacobsen signs, no more right-backs will be acquired, and with the versatility of players like Lescott, Neville and maybe even Rodwell, Moyes might decide his priorities lie away from the defence ? though this could leave us perilously short of numbers should the injuries stack up.
Neville (contracted until 2012)
Rodwell (contracted until 2014)
Arteta (contracted until 2012)
Osman (contracted until 2012)
Pienaar (contracted until 2011)
Gosling (contracted until 2012)
Cahill (contracted until 2012)
Fellaini (contracted until 2013)
Kissock (contracted until ?)
Wallace (contracted until ?)
Castillo (loan expiring)
Van Der Meyde (contract expiring)
May 2008: I claimed that we were severely depleted in midfield, though possibly hadn?t accounted for a much-improved Phil Neville or quite the impact and number of games Rodwell and Gosling would have for the first team.
June 2009: I still think that we are short of numbers here, especially on the wings. Moyes often deploys 5 midfielders, and with Castillo and Van Der Meyde unlikely to remain at the club beyond the summer, we only have 8 senior midfielders; and that includes Rodwell and Gosling! With Neville, Rodwell, Arteta, Cahill and Fellaini competing for the 3 central spots in a midfield of 5, expect Moyes to search high and low for a winger to supplement the excellent Pienaar on the left. If we had the resources, I?d hope for an additional creative central midfielder to be brought in to relieve the pressure from Arteta, but am unconvinced this will transpire.
Yakubu (contracted until 2011)
Saha (contracted until 2010)
Vaughan (contracted until 2011)
Anichebe (contracted until 2011)
Baxter (contracted until 2011)
Agard (contracted until ?)
Jutkiewicz (contracted until 2011) ---
Jo (loan expiring)
May 2008: I claimed that with a fit James Vaughan, we had the 4 decent strikers a premier league side needs ? but that I?d like to see Johnson traded for an improved model.
June 2009: I don?t think many would doubt that Saha is an improvement on Johnson ? but only when he is fit. We were unfortunate that Yakubu suffered a nasty injury, but with Saha and Vaughan also often injured, Anichebe was left as the only senior forward ? and he suffered from injuries and loss of form as various stages of the season. Whether or not Yakubu returns as good a player as he was before his injury, I would still like to see another striker brought into the squad ? possibly with Anichebe departing to part-fund a new player. Though, once again, I suspect limited resources may dictate that there are no major signings in this position.
The core of the squad is very strong, and with 3 or 4 improvements, I would feel confident that we could mount a serious challenge to the Sky 4 for the coming season. However, what would it cost to bring in 3 or 4 players of sufficient quality to improve a team that has finished in the top-6 three seasons running? For me, the priority is a right-winger, a right-back, a creative central midfielder and a replacement for Anichebe. As many do, I suspect we may see one signing that costs any kind of significant amount, with 2 or 3 additions on loan or free transfers. And this might not be enough to catch 4th placed Arsenal who I would not expect to see on as low a points tally as they did this season.
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 03/06/2009 at 15:10:15
Obviously Hibbo has played his last game as first choice right back now. Phil Nev will take this next season, who offers a lot here both defensively and offensively, not to mention his vocal abilities as captain.
Arteta, Moutinho & Rodwell will be picking the ball off the back 4 next season (so no more pointless long punts), they will be playing keep ball in there and almost impossible to depose of possession as they are so comfortable with it, as is Pienaar.
The wide midfield positions will be battled for by Ossie, Pienaar, ?The Goose?, Ledley, and Baxter, while we have Cahill & Fellaini for the attacking central midfield roles. So that?s not too bad.
While up top the likes of Saha, Owen, Yak,and Vaughan all look rather tasty if fit and firing, while Cahill & Felli are top notch when required to play there.
Nothing can stop us finishing in the top 4 next season, not even Man Citeeh paying £100k a week and £12 million for a 29-year-old slow one-paced central midfielder today...
2 Posted 03/06/2009 at 15:23:48
I would like to see Moyes do something like the following:
- Sell Hibbert
- Sign Jacobson
- Use Hibbert money to finance signing of new first choice right back
- new right winger
- new central midfielder (Mautinho?)
- sell Anichebe
- sign Owen (on reduced wagers, poss PAYP)
- loan Jo for one more year (if possible)
with the sales of players new investment is not too excessive (except for midfield), and so acheivable.
3 Posted 03/06/2009 at 15:41:51
4 Posted 03/06/2009 at 16:31:41
5 Posted 03/06/2009 at 17:19:41
What we need right now, in priority from top to bottom
1. Right Midfielder
2. Central Midfielder if Moyes continues to play 4-5-1
3. Backup to Howard, a long term injury to Tim would leave us with a big hole
5 Right back, assuming Jacobsen signs.
6. A Premier League level centre-0back as backup, who should be rotated and give atleast 10 games in season (hoping for a 60-game season next year) or DM can blood a youngster in that role.
6 Posted 03/06/2009 at 20:04:39
7 Posted 03/06/2009 at 21:15:45
John - you’re post sounds like you’re contemplating an assault on the top 4 with a team full of youngsters - we need more than that
Rob - we would not get any decent money for Hibbert, certainly not enough to finance a new first choice RB!!!
Sam - you are in the minority - Victor had his chance this year and never took it. The tackle which ended his season was horrible, and I feel for the lad, but I have seen enough of him to know that he is not good enough if we are to move to the next level
The reality is that our squad is not that far away from competing for 4th. I refer the reader to a post titled Barca-ton, the author of which I cannot remember. Whilst a little OTT, the basics of the post are that we just need to adapt our playing style a little more. We do need new additions, and there will be some. But before we all start dreaming of Moutinho’s, Johnson’s and Lennon’s, we need to consider 2 things - can we afford them? - and will their current club let them go? For the 3 mentioned above, no and no.
We will be looking for cut price additions, and this season has a wealth of talent in this market. We need a RM - Bentley is out of favour at Spurs, and will be allowed to leave on loan. We need a CM - Maniche and Scholes are 2 free transfers I would love to see in the Blue shirt - will Phil have a word with the latter? Me thinks its a big possibility. And we need a striker - is Owen the answer. A gamble? Yes, but with big potential if things go right. If they don’t, there’s always January. 4 players for nowt. Zip. Nada. That’s not to mention a swap deal of Anichebe for young Ledley, which I believe has mileage. And as one poster mentioned above, there could be up to 15 mill in the kitty as well.
These are all realistic options - and would all contribute to our squad greatly. I would love Moutinho as much as the next Blue - but sadly, I don’t think it will happen. But I still have confidence that with the squad we have, the returning players, and some additions similar to those I have mentioned, we can challenge. NSNO
8 Posted 03/06/2009 at 21:05:30
Lets plz get at Joaquin in the upcoming clearout at Valencia hell even Fernandes had his moments...I know hes aleftie but isn´t Pienaar originally a right winger?
9 Posted 03/06/2009 at 22:35:30
10 Posted 04/06/2009 at 00:44:50
With the few acquisitions we need - again completely agree with the general view - and a good start (!!) I think we can make it at Arsenal’s epense next year. I like Arsenal and have kept a careful eye on them as my favourite neutral team to watch, but I think they’ve lost the spirit and any sort of wobble will put Wenger under presure. We could take them.
On the Big Vic front, I think he could be a cracking player but his attitude is wrong. Instead of earning it he wants it given - he’s spoiled rotten. I have lingering hope for him. Are you listening Vic? The here goes.
You’re a big strong lad who can terrify defenders if you get a head of steam up. But once isn’t enough, followed by a whinge at the ref when a good defender sorts you out. This is the Prem - they will. These defenders are no more helpful than the cops watching a black man outside a jewellers.
Twice isn’t enough either.
Every time may not be enough at this level but for Christ’s sake try it. It just might be enough, I believe in you but only on these terms. OK Vic? Got it?
And by the way son, well done for playing on with that injury. It shows you’ve really got the Everton feeling, so if you get even one more chance - take it.
11 Posted 04/06/2009 at 08:14:14
I wouldnt sell Tony as there are games during the season that you will need his passion and commitment. The right side of the pitch is the worry, Osman cant do it as he has no pace.
12 Posted 04/06/2009 at 09:01:27
He, to me, is still the first choice right back until we can get a player to replace Neville in midfield and then he can drop back, even then I may be tempted to stick with Hibbert.
13 Posted 04/06/2009 at 11:17:38
We have 3 great Central defenders. My fear is that DM will sell Lescott (if Man City or Arsenal come in with a big bid) to fund some other purchases.
Midfield: We need Midfield creativity that?s the priority if we only have £15M this summer. Question is who - on a price/performance basis.
On strikers: Michael Owen on a free might be worthwhile - but we have to accept his best years have gone, along with his pace. Saha was a free from Manure and why? Because he is also finished physically and always injured. So both of these guys are stopgaps to get us thru a couple of seasons.
I pray the Yak can come good again after his injury. I would give Anichebe another season ? he might make the grade yet.
Also what is it with James Vaughan? I am sorry he isn?t up to it, why do you lot go on about him as some top striker. He?s a substitute ? but that is all, not starting 11.
14 Posted 04/06/2009 at 11:29:23
I would also say goodbye to Anichebe. He lacks the basic skill and first touch. Unfortunately that is not something that improves with age. It needs to be developed early in life. We may have to wait until January because of his injury. I think he could do a job for bottom half club - but frankly he is probably a Championship player.
Castillo, Jo, Valente and Van der Meyde will all leave. Rodwell has effectively grown into the role that Castillo was recruited for. Jo was cover for the injured Yakubu who will be back. I think we have done two seasons without Valente so can probably risk another without strong cover at left back (we have Neville and Lescott when needs must ? plus possibly the Irish kid we signed in January). Van der Meyde?s is the position that needs "replacing" .
What we need are two wide midfielders, and a fourth striker who is better than Anichebe. If we get that I will be happy.
Can?t understand the requests for extra central midfielders. All our midfielders prefer to play in the centre (including Pienaar) and they are all pretty good in that position ? what we need is width.
Leave it to Moyes to unearth something on the wings ? just needs to be better than what we have in that position (Osman) plus some cover. Pienaar is right footed and can play on either flank so it does not matter if the newcomers play on the left or the right.
15 Posted 04/06/2009 at 11:47:55
16 Posted 04/06/2009 at 12:14:10
As regards Anichebe, he was starting to look a far better option down the right that Osman till he got injured, lest we forget is was a rampaging run that he got injured on. At the start off the season I’d rather see Vic lining up there that Osman any day
17 Posted 04/06/2009 at 13:34:30
18 Posted 04/06/2009 at 15:46:01
We ARE NOT close to Arsenal. We have a good spine of 5 or 6 players who might make it onto the bench of a top four side (or 2 or 3 who may get pitch time).
We will likely not have any money whatsoever to spend this summer..and this will be lead to bin-lid rattling outside Goodison... a period of deep pathos will follow and this crescendo of anger will reach fever pitch with Kirkby getting the go ahead. Elstone will leave to become a lap dancer and Keith Wyness will return to become the club mascot.
Enjoy this summer, because I?ve a feeling all will not be good at this club come next season.
I could however be wrong... in fact I hope to god I?m as wrong as I can be.
19 Posted 04/06/2009 at 18:27:41
We have 3 world class kids coming thorugh ( Rodwell,Baxter,Barkley ). I watch these kids, this is why i’m super optimistic.
I used to laugh when Moyes used to talk about wanting /aiming to win the league. now i believe, you should all too........
20 Posted 04/06/2009 at 19:06:53
21 Posted 05/06/2009 at 01:04:32
22 Posted 05/06/2009 at 15:37:11
Perhaps you’d prefer it if I put on a wheat dress and danced around a statue of Bill Kenwright?
If you don’t like cold hard facts...then ignore them.
For instance...we now apparently have 3 ’world class kids’.....that would probably be more to your liking...after all - it is a load of bóllocks...but at least it’s positive eh!
23 Posted 05/06/2009 at 16:30:29
24 Posted 06/06/2009 at 22:05:01
What is this Michael Owen love-in all about? We would not be signing the Owen who used to score for fun with a blistering turn of pace over 10 yards. That is history. Injuries and age, now touching 30, mean he is now damaged goods, just can’t deliver any more. Ask the barcodes.
I’d be amazed if DM had even considered signing Owen, who doesn’t tick any of the boxes required of a club challenging for the top 4.
25 Posted 07/06/2009 at 16:03:35